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Huizenga Legislation To Help Low & Moderate Income Families Sent To Senate

Washington, September 17, 2014

Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5461 containing several provisions to reform Dodd-Frank including, the Mortgage Choice Act, legislation first introduced by Congressman Huizenga to help low and moderate income Americans attain a qualified mortgage.  Congressman Huizenga released the following statement after H.R. 5461 passed with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 327 to 97:

"This legislation will help low and middle income borrowers as well as prospective first-time homeowners realize a portion of the American Dream,” said Huizenga. “Hard-working families across the nation should not be denied access to a qualified mortgage because of technicalities that are largely out of their control. H.R. 5461 represents a positive, bipartisan step forward to make sure West Michigan residents can attain mortgages for their first home; Michigan farmers can access the financing they need to buy tractors and work their land; and Americans across the nation can buy insurance policies without severe premium increases.”

On Monday, Congressman Huizenga spoke on the House floor during the debate on H.R. 5461.  A video and transcript of Rep. Huizenga’s remarks are available below.

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Rep. Huizenga:

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight in support of H.R. 5461, a bill authored by Mr. Barr, my colleague on the Financial Services Committee, and cosponsored by Mr. Miller from California and myself. This bill contains four titles. Three of which have already passed this House with overwhelming or unanimous support, and one that passed with only a dozen ‘no’ votes.

Mr. Speaker, it is rare that the Senate sends us meaningful legislation, and it is even rarer when they send us legislation that fixes the Dodd-Frank Act. As we on the Financial Services Committee have seen in our hearings and markups, our friends on the other side of the aisle and the other side of the Capitol, usually defend Dodd-Frank to the hilt - bestowing upon it the kind of deference normally reserved for sacred texts handed down from the Heavens.

We should all agree that Congress doesn’t always get it right. When sweeping legislation is enacted -- and remember, Dodd-Frank is a 2,300-page bill -- there are often areas that later need clarification. That is exactly what we are here talking about today.

Whatever one’s position on Dodd-Frank, we should all be able to agree that the text is not sacred and does need some fixing.

That is why I am pleased that the Senate has sent us a bill to clarify that regulators should not impose regulatory capital requirements designed for banking institutions on insurance companies.

The Senate bill, S. 2270, passed the other body unanimously. There is broad support in the House for a companion measure. But there is equally broad support for three other Dodd-Frank technical correction amendments that have previously passed this House—Mr. Barr’s bill on the treatment of collateralized loan obligations under the Volcker Rule; Mr. Grimm’s bill to exempt end-users of derivatives from Dodd-Frank’s overreaching margin requirements; and my own bill on how ‘points and fees’ are treated under Dodd-Frank’s onerous qualified mortgage rule.

My legislation that is included in this package is a strong, bipartisan provision that modifies and clarifies the way "points and fees" are calculated. This provision is narrowly focused to promote access to affordable mortgage credit without overturning the important consumer protections and sound underwriting required under Dodd-Frank's "ability to repay" provisions. Homeownership has been a pillar in American life for generations and this particular provision will help more Americans realize this portion of the American Dream.

This bill is a commonsense measure that should, and I believe does, have broad bipartisan support. I was puzzled, however, by a Dear Colleague Letter produced by Ranking Member Waters circulated earlier today. In the letter, she writes that Mr. Barr has coupled the insurance capital bill with other “divisive legislation.” I would ask my friend the Ranking Member what divisive legislation is she referring to. Is it the CLO bill, which passed the House on voice vote? Is it the end-user bill, which passed the House and the Ranking Member's ‘yes’ vote herself and only a dozen nay votes? Or is it my bill, that also passed the House on voice vote? I don’t see the divisiveness and I don’t see where the problem is.

The reality is that Americans don’t care about the parliamentary process so much as they want results. We are pleased that the Senate has finally come to the table on Dodd-Frank reforms. This legislation represents a step forward in working with the other body to make sure that my constituents can get mortgages to buy their first home; that farmers can access the financing they need to buy tractors and work their land; and that Americans can buy insurance policies without severe premium increases.

I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 5461—especially my Democratic friends whom I believe support every component of the package. I reserve the balance of my time.


Background:

The Mortgage Choice Act originally passed the House unanimously on June 9, 2014; however the Senate has yet to act on this important legislation. The inclusion of Rep. Huizenga’s legislation in H.R. 5461 gives the Senate another opportunity to make homeownership a reality for more Americans across the nation.

More details on H.R. 3211, including Congressman Huizenga’s floor speech on the importance of reaffirming homeownership as a pillar of life in America, can be found here.

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